Following on from the introduction of the first InnoVision timepiece, ten years ago, Ulysse Nardin has just announced a second version of the incredible concept watch.
Taking on the spirit of innovation this is a watch again pushes boundaries with ten individual patents to its name.
The first of this is the watch’s escapement. Building UN’s Dual Direct escapement that was one of the many big leaps that made the Freak possible in 2001, the InnoVision 2 now boasts a Dual Constant escapement. The genius behind the constant force effect is the material that UN was responsible from bringing into the watch industry first in 2001: Silicon.
The next innovation has to do with the process of producing the new escapement’s components, which require the bonding smaller than ever before silicon parts together to give rise to often three dimensional and complex pieces.
Innovation number three is the balance wheel and the balance wheel, both of which are produced in silicon thanks to the newly realized process of producing silicon components that is innovation number two.
Fourth on the list is the watch’s self-winding mechanism, which has seen a thorough overhaul. It now uses a pairing of large and small ball bearings and springs that intend to make for more optimal winding of the watch. UN is calling this newly formulated self-winding mechanism the “Grinder”.
Number five on the list is the maddest one yet. The InnoVision 2’s bridge is made of silicon to begin with. But that’s not it. They’ve now somehow, in partnership with EPFL High School of Lausanne and Sigatec, managed to coat silicon with a very micro layer of sapphire! The result is that sapphire then lends its hardness to the silicon component.
Innovation six sounds flashy but is, in fact, a matter of reducing fiction. That is the InnoVision’s wheels are all photolithographically produced using 24-karat gold. The intention here is so that when the wheels are placed on their steel pinions they experience lesser friction when interacting with the steel as compared to traditional brass wheels.
Seventh on the list is the watch’s glass balance wheel bridge. Yup, glass. UN assures that it’s not as fragile as you would think it is on first sight. As a matter of fact, this proprietary balance wheel bridge even has a newly formulated shock resistance system integrated.
Now innovation eight requires the dimming of lights. You see, UN’s somehow managed to somehow crave out channels into the glass balance wheel bridge and fill them with Super-Luminova. The visual effect of which, from pictures at least, looks like nothing ever seen in horology.
Innovation number nine is in the way the watch displays AM and PM hours. From 0100 hours to 1100 hours the numbers that you see switch over in their respective apertures to show hours 1300 though to 2300. Really quite a simple solution. How it took this long for some to think it up? Go figure.
The last of the innovations make sure that the InnoVision 2 is not only impressive in terms of all its technicalities, but due attention has also been paid to the include objects of delicate art. In this instance, we refer to the watch’s glass minute hands, which are sculpted using a laser. The intricacy that UN can achieve in the process that they use is the 3 to 5 microns’ range. Fear not that the delicate glass hands will be unable to bear extreme shocks. Due caution has been taken to fortify the hands by placing them on a thin metal backing.
With the last innovation covered. It’s important to understand that lists aside, this a highly technical timepiece. One that requires more than the initial announcement article to fully comprehend. We hope to do that for you once we have the chance to hear about the watch from UN and handle it for ourselves at SIHH.